HEDGEHOG CARE GUIDE
Congratulations on your new pet hedgehog! There's a lot to discover and learn about taking care of them. Whether you're a new owner or a seasoned pro, this guide will provide you with the essential care information you need to keep your hedgehog healthy and happy. We're here to help and answer any questions you may have regarding their well-being and health.
Hedgehogs require a constant temperature of 74 ° F to 77 °F to maintain their habitat. If the temperature drops below 70 ° F, hedgehogs can attempt to hibernate, which can be fatal. Signs of a hibernation attempt include cold belly, wobbliness, and lethargy. If you catch it early enough, you can hold your hedgehog skin to skin until they warm back up. Avoid shocking their body temperature by providing any heat other than your natural body warmth. On the other hand, if the temperature rises above 80 ° F, your hedgehog can be overheated, which can cause heatstroke. One sign of a hot hedgehog is a hedgehog laying flat on its belly (also known as splooting). We suggest using a CHE bulb 75 or 150 W that emits only heat (not light), an 8.5 in dome with a ceramic socket and dimmer, and a thermostat that regulates the temperature as needed.
In the event of a power outage in the winter, you should have a backup heating method. We recommend using hot hands (hand warmers) for emergencies and travel. These are toxic and should be placed in a sock and knotted shut or placed in one of our deluxe snuggle sacks with a hand warmer pouch built-in. In the event you don't have any, put your hedgehog in a fleece snuggle sack or blanket and keep them close to your body until the power is back on. Do not use a handwarmer for a hedgehog that has begun a hibernation attempt!
*Enrichment & Exercise**
Daily exercise is vital for your hedgehog's health. We recommend bucket wheels, and we also have some available for purchase. We do not recommend the use of other wheels other than the Kaytee comfort 12-inch wheel (however it is noisier and harder to clean). Wheels must be cleaned at least every other day, and your hedgehog will likely use the bathroom while exercising. Hedgehogs can be potty trained by putting a litter box under the wheel. Hedgehogs are burrowing and foraging creatures and enjoy dig boxes, sand baths, and small toys
We recommend fleece, pine bedding, or paper bedding. If you purchase a cage set up, our kit will include a bag of kiln-dried pine shavings. It's important to note that hedgehogs are allergic to cedar, and it can be fatal. Fleece bedding is a good option to rein warmth but needs to be washed often. Hedgehogs are very likely to use fleece bedding to hide under, which can be prevented by attaching it to the bottom of the cage using velcro. All bedding should be spot cleaned daily. We suggest pine, aspen, and paper to support their natural behaviors because hedgehogs love to burrow.
Hedgehogs are prone to upper respiratory infections, and ammonia buildup can be fatal if you don't clean their cage at least once every two weeks. You can use dawn dish soap or diluted white vinegar for hard surfaces. The cage and all accessories must be dry before you put the bedding in. A wet cage can make your hedgehog ill and cause fungal and bacterial growth.
You can bathe your hedgehog with a mild soap once a month. We recommend using baby head to toe wash or Aveeno oatmeal and a clean SOFT toothbrush specifically for your hedgehogs. Make sure your hedgehog has had at least thirty minutes to dry before placing them back into their home. Hedgehogs can also be spot cleaned with baby wipes as needed. You will know it's time to give them a bath when they make your skin itchy and uncomfortable or when they have poopy feet. We do not recommend adding oil to their baths because it can clog their pores and cause skin issues and bacterial growth. In more humid regions, we also recommend using an antifungal and antimicrobial wash that does not contain tea tree oil at least once every 3 months to keep your hedgehog's skin clean and keep fungus at bay.
Hedgehogs need fresh food and water available at all times! Babies under 6 months should always have food available. Adults can have up to 2 TBSP of food per day, preferably sometime between 5-10 pm, as your hedgehog is waking up for the night. We recommend Coastal Quills Hedgehog food, which is a blend of a few high-quality grain-free cat foods and has been specially mixed just for hedgehogs. You can also feed pinky mice twice a week, mealworms, super worms, crickets, horn worms, and dubia roaches. You can refrigerate the bugs to slow them down and pick them up with tweezers. You can also feed many types of boiled unseasoned meats occasionally.
Hedgehogs are not domesticated animals and can drastically change once they're in their new homes. Our babies are simply tamed with positive reinforcement and routine cuddles. Hedgehogs require at least 30 minutes of socialization with you every day to bond and stay happy and healthy. Hedgehogs can become huffy and even get depressed or anxious and self-mutilate if neglected for days and weeks on end. At a minimum, they should at least be thoroughly examined for injuries every 24 hours. While they're first settling in, put a worn t-shirt with your scent on it as their only hide for the first months until your baby gets used to your scent and starts to associate it with comfort. We do not recommend housing any hedgehogs together as they are solitary, territorial creatures and can fight suddenly for no apparent reason.